Building a Community, One House at a Time
History of our New Venture
Our friend, the late Albert Boscov, had a vision of making homeownership opportunities available to a greater number of families seeking to settle in this community. His foundation, Our City Reading (OCR), laid the groundwork for rehabilitating hundreds of properties in the city of Reading. It provided a means to transform abandoned and/or distressed buildings into affordable houses for families.
Habitat for Humanity of Berks County (HFHBC) has extended the kinship we had with Mr. Boxcov to his foundation.
OCR mirrors Habitat’s purpose and mission to ensure everyone has the chance for a decent place to live. Mr. Boxcov’s foundation has gifted HFHBC the properties that will allow us to begin work on the Buttonwood Gateway Project. We are excited and honored to take on this challenge.
The Buttonwood Gateway Project site presents a unique opportunity for re-investment into an urban area that has – for too long – been in decline and disrepair.
Habitat is positioned to be part of a unified efforts that encompasses private development, city government and Habitat’s unique program for homeownership.
The Buttonwood Gateway Project is located at one of three main access points into the city of Reading.
Here, there is high traffic volume and visibility. This site and our project will affirm that areas once thought to be too rundown can rise up and once again be healthy, productive neighborhoods.
Homeownership is an essential element to creating clean and safer neighborhoods in which people can live and thrive.
Habitat’s requirements of 300 hours of “sweat equity” and financial education make us a one-of-a-kind housing agency for families seeking to become Habitat Home Buyers.
Why this Project is Important
Habitat for Humanity of Berks County utilizes resources and hard work to provide safe and affordable housing to moderate-income families. Research has proven that children need a safe home in order to perform better at school. A safe, decent, affordable place to live can make a real difference in the life of a family. According to research, children of homeowners are more likely to finish high school (and twice as likely to graduate from college), and they are 59 percent more likely to become homeowners themselves, starting an upward spiral. By properly educating the youth of the world, they are enabled with the ability to impact society at a higher level. The need for housing in Berks County is at an all-time high, with close to 50,000 households facing problems such as overcrowded homes, inadequate physical necessities (such as running water), and dedicating a large portion of their income on mortgages and associated costs. These factors cause house payments to deplete most of the household income.
Habitat for Humanity homes are sold with no profit received and are built through volunteer labor and donated resources and funds. Homeowners must provide a down payment and make payments on their home; it is not a charity program. Along with the prospective homeowner’s hard work (also known as “sweat equity”), he or she is required to pay back the loan with a 3.5% interest, therefore providing a sense of accomplishment.
- Habitat for Humanity creates community building by bringing neighborhoods together to decrease substandard housing.
- Habitat for Humanity wants all individuals to have a chance at affordable housing.
- The importance of homeownership is the main value that Habitat strives to instill into the community.
- By having families own their own homes, they are granted a sense of self-sufficiency.
- Families build their homes using sweat equity by encouraging them to put time, sweat, and effort into building their new home.
- Homeowners and community members have the opportunity to instill volunteerism in their communities by building with Habitat for Humanity.
Join the movement to build homes for our community and future! For more information, please contact:
Tim Daley, Executive Director
Mike Rodino, Director of Construction
Molly McCullough Murrill, Director of Development & Marketing
To print out a one-page document describing this project,